If the desire for God is a drive as deep as it is indestructible (which is to say, a longing so profound and pervasive that on the strength of its universality we cannot understand ourselves as other than religious beings), then God’s answering response represents the definitive disclosure of divine love, soliciting our freedom for a life of unending communion with God and his angels and his saints. However, to negotiate our way from one state to the other, from the exile in which we languish to the eternity to which we are called, requires hope, a supernatural virtue on whose exercise everything depends.
What then is hope? And how does one get a handle on it? Josef Pieper is wonderfully lucid on the subject. It is, he says, “the confidently patient expectation of eternal beatitude in a contemplative and comprehensive sharing of the triune life of God.”[i] What is immediately striking about this description is the high level of certitude at which the claim is made. So strong and secure is the structure of hope, that we may say, as Paul certainly does in his letter to the Romans (8:24), we shall be saved by it.